The Sky Behind the Forest: Selected Poems

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the summer of 1992 a recently widowed Tess Gallagher sat with Liliana Ursu beneath an apple tree in a village near Bucharest when, in a preternatural moment, a secret word from Ursu's childhood sprang from Gallagher's lips. That fall, on a jet from Romania to New York , Gallagher sat next to Adam Sorkin, who has translated the work of over 50 Romanian poets, and they read through the spare, despairing yet inspiring manuscript that only now, half a decade later, reaches the bookshelf in a polished, vigorous form. Ursu's translated voice is one of a deep sadness that refuses to turn cynical, displaying a modest bravery in the face of political and personal strife and demonstrating a resplendent feminism. Mostly, however, she articulates a hunger laid out in elemental imagery, evoking a spirit that craves, though not often finds, redress: "In the city of what once was, I repaired clocks,/ and high in the tower I set the heavy iron hand/ to the fragile hours. / You would pick wild strawberries from the lip of the abyss./ A word, and we came crashing down." Knife blades cut into both the expansive sky and a caught fish in a world so large and so small as to hold Bucharest and Pennsylvania (Ursu taught at Penn State in 1992) on a single page. The attentions of Ursu, Gallagher and Sorkin seem to add an additional dimension of complexity and illumination to these poems. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781852243869
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books
  • Publication date: 6/27/1997
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.28 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 9
Translators' Notes 13
About the Translators 20
In the Forest 23
Title It As You Like 24
Season's End 25
Unforgetting 26
Rain in Sibiu 27
Seascape 28
Poem with a Griffin, a Pike and Peacocks 29
You Haven't a face 30
Double Portrait 31
Contre Jour 32
Evening after Evening 33
If Night Weren't So Long 34
Moment with Thunder 35
The Goldsmiths' Market 36
Flowers of the Pyre 37
Spring in Dream 38
The Comet Is Coming 39
Portrait 40
With One Eye We Cry, with the Other We Laugh 43
Silent Voices 44
The Mirror's Hide and Seek 46
Woman from Sibiel in Phoenix 47
Humility 48
Spanish Flashback 49
For Constantin Noica 50
Really, Don't You Believe Me? 51
Poem for a Brother in Spirit 52
Above the Bridge 53
Portrait with Dandelions 54
Bait 56
Casual Event 57
Life Under Ground 58
Orpheus 59
Dialogue 60
In the City of What Once Was 61
History of a Couple 62
Anatomy of a December Night 63
Contrasts 64
A Midwinter Night's Dream 65
From the Angel's Window 66
Diana's Shadow 67
The Poet's Cat 68
Bison Hunting 69
In the Dusk 70
Letter from the Constellation of the Swan 73
Is This Wisdom? 74
Blues 75
Couple 76
The Moon 77
The Eye of the Swan 78
Spring Circumstance 81
Death in Spring 82
Ancient and Beautiful as the Mist 83
Port Angeles 84
Poem for Tess 86
El Greco 87
The Moon Seen from Romania, Japan and America 88
Noroc 90
Snapshot of an Orchard in Port Angeles 92
Golden Dust 93
Notes 94
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